As the upper classes stumbled out of his front door, he couldn’t seem to remember why he had let them enter in the first place. Over the years ‘parties’ had become tedious performances; ones that he had never been fond of.
His mother (whose idea it had been to throw the damn thing) had thrust a gaggle of girls into his vicinity whenever he’d entered the ballroom. He had, of course, proceeded to dance with each one in turn, regardless of their waltzing skill… or lack thereof.
Wishful thinking, he supposed ruefully.
Moiraine Afonsine’s yearning for a grandchild would surely not be appeased that easily. Her longing for a grandchild, and an heir to the dukedom, had grown over recent years, and it seemed obvious to her that now was the best time for him to take a wife.
Vaughn said that morning over the breakfast table, impassive to his mother’s latest conquest.
“I turned eight and twenty a fortnight ago.”
“My point exactly!”
Needless to say, it would undoubtedly be brought up again over breakfast the following morning, and so on and so forth.
Perhaps the next dinner or soirée or whatever in hell his mother had invited him to would yield more promising women.
He had just realised why his mood had turned so sour.
Christ, she was probably the most unsuitable bride he would find if he searched the whole of Moonlight Falls!
… if only his mother knew of his inappropriate taste in women. Indeed, he doubted she would even let him marry a woman without a title at all!
The solution to the problem at hand raced through his mind; such a simple idea, but awfully cunning, to be sure. Of course he would have to assert all of his charm and intelligence to…yes, and then after she…perfect!
Seduction was a game, after all.
Lord Geoffrey Buckingham choked, lurching forward in his armchair.
Vaughn shrugged and repeated himself.
“I’ve found a fiancé.”
Count Charles Landgraab sighed, but didn’t look up from his copy of The Times.
Endlessly amused, Vaughn continued.
“When my mother finds out how I propose to besmirch the family with low-born blood, she will call off the wedding. I will do so, obviously, but tell her that I fear I will never love again. Thus her guilt will force her to stop bothering me.”
Vaughn frowned. “I am utterly serious.”
“And what will you do after two years, when your mother starts heckling you again?”
Geoffrey guffawed. “So this detailed ploy is all to give you more time as a bachelor?”
“Why does it not surprise me, that you would sacrifice your honour, merely to continue skirt-chasing!”
“I didn’t think I had any honour left to sacrifice.”
“You were probably correct in the assertion.” Geoffrey added under his breath.
“Would it not be easier to just leave the country again?”
“Running away doesn’t solve anything.”
“None at all.” Vaughn answered with a smile.
“Are you implying that you can?”
“Pfft, do you not know me at all, man?”
Then he asked something that the Viscount had not considered.
“What if you fall in love with her?”
“Don’t be absurd, Charles! He barely knows the meaning of the word.”
“My point precisely.”